According to the Water Footprint Network, it takes a staggering 15,415 liters of water to produce just a single kilogram of beef.*
This is simply not sustainable, no matter how you spin it. Especially with a global population of 7.6 billion people and growing, if most of those people continue consuming these resource-intensive animal products.
Fresh water is a limited resource, and we are currently using a disproportionate amount of it for farming animal foods. In fact, animal agriculture accounts for more than half of all US fresh water use (per Center for Science in the Public Interest).
So, not surprisingly, scientists warn of impending and severe food and water shortages unless we see a global and mass transition away from animal foods.
While some may also point to certain plant foods as also being water intensive – like nuts for example – that doesn’t put a dent in the comparative footprints between omnivore and vegan diets. Indeed, when someone eats a vegan diet, they are not eating some kind of “all nuts” diet – they are eating a normal variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, as well as nuts and seeds. And, overall, the water footprint (and land footprint, and energy footprint, and greenhouse gas footprint) of a vegan diet is substantially lower than any diet that includes meat and dairy.
We are already vastly overshooting what our planet can sustainably supply, yet we continue to eat animal foods as if everything was okay. Let’s snap out of this destructive trajectory, go vegan, and help raise awareness of these important issues.
*Click here for more from the Water Footprint Network